Netanyahu accused of ‘scolding’ Raab on Iran during visit

Israeli’s government press office said it ‘expects Britain to change its policy towards Iran’


Two very different messages have emerged from meetings held in Jerusalem this week between British Foreign Secretary Dominic Raab and Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu.

The Foreign Office, in a post-meeting statement, said Mr Raab had “congratulated Israel on the normalisation of ties with the UAE and discussed the importance of building on Israel’s commitment to suspend annexation plans and the opportunity to resume direct talks with the Palestinian Authority towards an enduring two-state solution”.

According to the Foreign Office, the two men had “discussed their shared concerns over regional stability, including countering Iran’s destabilising behaviour in the region, and the situation in Lebanon”.

But a statement from Israel’s Government Press Office used much stronger language, characterised in Israeli media as the prime minister “scolding” the British minister.

It said Mr Netanyahu “expects Britain to change its policy towards Iran, and that it should join American sanctions in order to prevent Iran from arming itself with lethal weapons or to advance towards a nuclear weapon”.

The two men, who also spoke about ratifying Tsipi Hotovely’s appointment as Israel’s ambassador to the UK, began “scoping talks on a new Free Trade Agreement” between Britain and Israel, and pledged to intensify collaboration in science and technology.

Later in his visit, Mr Raab went to Ramallah to talk to Palestinian president Mahmoud Abbas. The Foreign Office said he had set out “the UK’s unwavering commitment to a two-state solution”, and that he had encouraged Mr Abbas “to reengage in direct discussions with Israel given the suspension of annexation plans”.

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